27 Jun 2013

Council opposes convention centre deal

5:33 pm on 27 June 2013

The Auckland Council has come out against the Government's deal for a convention centre to built in return for laws allowing increased casino gambling.

An artist's impression of the convention centre.

An artist's impression of the convention centre. Photo: SUPPLIED

Casino operator SkyCity has agreed to build the $400 million centre, in return for Government concessions that include an extended licence, an extra 230 gaming machines and up to 60 gaming tables.

Thursday's vote does not affect the deal between the Government and SkyCity and is largely a symbolic gesture against the concessions. But the council is also demanding more measures to curb problem gambling and the release of a report on the social impacts of the deal.

Councillor Cathy Casey proposed the vote, which sparked lengthy debate before being passed by 10 votes to 7, and said it reflects anger that the Government has not consulted with Auckland over the deal.

"They've come in over the top of us and said, 'You will have this' - that's telling the people of Auckland through its council that this is what's going to happen to you.

"So we really don't have a say - so in the absence of a say, we've decided that we need to tell them what we think."

Ms Casey said the council wants the centre to be built, but more should be done to counter the increased harm from the higher number of gambling machines and tables allowed.

Mayor Len Brown is due to attend SkyCity on Friday along with Prime Minister John Key for a speech expected to announce more support for transport projects in the city.